Darwin in a campervan

Submitted: Friday, Feb 12, 2010 at 20:25
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Hi fellow travellers,

I am having a week in Darwin with my wife and have hired a Britz Explorer campervan, we hope to travel to Kakadu,Katherine,and down to Mataranka.

Does anyone have any ideas on sights to see as we have not been to the N.T. before and only have a week, we are open to suggestions as we do not have a set plan.

Cheers

Steve
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Reply By: Motherhen - Friday, Feb 12, 2010 at 20:44

Friday, Feb 12, 2010 at 20:44
Hi Steve

Choose one! However with your Britz, you will be limited to the bitumen roads only, and will miss so much.

Kakadu alone took us a full week, just doing the V road in one way and out the other, without going to places on the road that run between. Some of this (such as track to Jimjim) was real 4wd stuff. Most places you'd get into if dirt roads don't breech you hire contract.

Litchfield was great - we spent three full on days there. If you want to spend a week somewhere, do this. Main places can be accessed by bitumen or easy roads, but some good spots need 4wd.

If you go to Mataranka, book in at Mataranka Cabins and Camping - right beside Bitter Springs (walking distance), and the pick of the hot springs. They shut the gates when they reach maximum number of rigs which isn't many, so either arrive early in the morning or ring the day before and book.

Douglas Hot Springs (parks camp) was a lovely spot. Good water on tap but no power though, but it is nicer than at the nearby commercial 'resort'. Soak in the desired temperature of hot water. One pool is very deep, or you can wallow in the shallows by the camp.

There are a number of parks and springs closer to Darwin worth a visit that we missed. Download the NY Parks brochures of the area and choose a few; easy to take a week and not see them all.

Motherhen
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Follow Up By: W.A. Steve- Friday, Feb 12, 2010 at 21:12

Friday, Feb 12, 2010 at 21:12
Thanks Motherhen,

Work commitments only allow one week, hopefully next year i can spend a few months touring.

You make a good point with missing lots of exciting places, i will be better prepared next trip.
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Follow Up By: Motherhen - Friday, Feb 12, 2010 at 21:29

Friday, Feb 12, 2010 at 21:29
Hi Steve

Better to spend a relaxing week seeing less than trying to get too much in. You could easily spend a week in Darwin. The WWII tunnels, Aircraft Museum, Mindil Beach markets (if you are there on the right day - we weren't), and lots more close by.

Val, the Douglas Hot Springs access road in is fine (certainly was last year and i can see no reason why it would change), but the continuing track to Butterfly Springs is 4wd only, and not anything special when you get there.

Mh
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Follow Up By: Motherhen - Friday, Feb 12, 2010 at 22:40

Friday, Feb 12, 2010 at 22:40
Of course i should have added, what tyoe of things does your bride of 25 year like?

Mh
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Follow Up By: Troppo Tom (Virginia, N.T.) - Saturday, Feb 13, 2010 at 12:39

Saturday, Feb 13, 2010 at 12:39
Different people can see the same places through different eyes. The section of the Douglas River accessed via the Douglas Daly Tourist Park is awesome and has some of the best river camps I have ever stayed at. I think I read a historical document authored by Willem about this park when it went by a different name. Butterfly Gorge upstream from the Douglas Hot Springs is also wonderful but requires a bit of a climb and a swim to see it in its full glory.

Have fun during your week; you will have plenty to see. I have been up here for 7 years and have not run out of new places to explore and have visited my favourite places (Kakadu, Litchfield, Douglas River, Adelaide River, the Northern Suburban Beaches, Gunn Point, Mataranka, the various markets, meals at Stokes Hill Wharf, Virginia Tavern) time and time again.


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Follow Up By: Motherhen - Saturday, Feb 13, 2010 at 14:01

Saturday, Feb 13, 2010 at 14:01
Hi Troppo

The northern NT certainly has a lot to offer tourists be they bush travellers or wanting something more sophisticated. We didn't see all that much of it and hope to come through again in the future.Darwin was the only city we chose to visit on our last trip.

Maybe Butterfly Gorge would be better at a different time of the year. Climbing through the gorge was slimy and slippery and not very pleasant, and the butterflies were not at home. We saw more butterflies (like half a dozen) walking along the creek to get there than in the Gorge, or at any time while enjoying the warm water back at camp. It was acceptable, but not worth the time taken to drive in and out on the day. We also took the walk over the top looking down into the pool, but chose not to climb down from there, returning to the fork and following the creek.

Kakadu and Litchfield are both must see places for anyone; both very different to each other, and both having a variety of very different features. Forget the Kakadon't people. They probably drove through the bitumen road without stopping and saw nothing.

Mh
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Reply By: Member - John and Val - Friday, Feb 12, 2010 at 20:45

Friday, Feb 12, 2010 at 20:45
Hi Steve,

High on my list would be Litchfield NP and the Territory Wildlife Park for which I would set aside a whole day. Douglas Daly hot springs is also a pretty good spot but not sure about the condition of the access road.

Cheers,

Val
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Follow Up By: W.A. Steve- Friday, Feb 12, 2010 at 21:18

Friday, Feb 12, 2010 at 21:18
Thanks Val,

Litchfield does look good, just had a quick look on internet.

Also i know this is the wrong time of the year to be in the north, but it is to celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary so will use this trip as a familiarisation visit and plan our next trip better.

Cheers

Steve
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Reply By: Member - Fred B (NT) - Friday, Feb 12, 2010 at 21:21

Friday, Feb 12, 2010 at 21:21
Agreed, don't miss the territory Wildlife Park... spend the whole day there. We always take all our visitors there and they always come away impressed.
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Fred B
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Reply By: Member - Andrew L (QLD) - Friday, Feb 12, 2010 at 21:38

Friday, Feb 12, 2010 at 21:38
"I am having a week in Darwin with my wife and have hired a Britz Explorer campervan, we hope to travel to Kakadu,Katherine,and down to Mataranka. "


" work commitments only allow one week"

Good luck...maybe take some time out to refresh/re-adjust life/work/family/holiday before you grow old.
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Follow Up By: W.A. Steve- Friday, Feb 12, 2010 at 21:44

Friday, Feb 12, 2010 at 21:44
Ha Ha, before i grow old, ? i will need to be quick then.

Ta for that Andrew
.


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Reply By: Tenpounder (SA) - Saturday, Feb 13, 2010 at 13:12

Saturday, Feb 13, 2010 at 13:12
Hi. I agree mostly with the others. But Litchfield is a bit overrated in my view, especially if you go there when half of Darwin is on a day trip too! But a round trip for a day is worth it.
Territory Wildlife is a MUST DO (allow half a day at least).
You may want to consider paying for a flight to Kakadu (we did a flight via the Falls (Jim Jim and Twin) landing at Yellow Waters for an afternoon cruise (tho dawn is really much better if you have the time).
You can drive to Adelaide River also while Darwin based.
If you go to Katherine, try to find time (overnight stay, perhaps) for Ningaloo NP (maybe a boat trip up the Gorge)
As others have said, Darwin itself is interesting (even tho I generally keep away from towns and cities when we are touring).
We had a week in Darwin a couple of years ago, and the time just flew!!
Enjoy!!
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Follow Up By: Mikee5 (Logan QLD) - Saturday, Feb 13, 2010 at 15:25

Saturday, Feb 13, 2010 at 15:25
Hi Chris,

I think you mean Nitmiluk, Ningaloo is in WA -:)
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Follow Up By: Tenpounder (SA) - Saturday, Feb 13, 2010 at 15:33

Saturday, Feb 13, 2010 at 15:33
Thanks, Mike. I think you might be right! Ningaloo might just be a bit too much for a day trip!
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Reply By: Member - Mal and Di (SA) - Saturday, Feb 13, 2010 at 18:12

Saturday, Feb 13, 2010 at 18:12
What ever you do , do not miss having a meal on Stoke Hill wharf after dark.
All of the rest are excellent but you will have to make up your mind on which one due to the time restraints.
M.
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Reply By: Member - Jo Q (NSW) - Tuesday, Feb 16, 2010 at 16:29

Tuesday, Feb 16, 2010 at 16:29
Hi Steve, Found your post very interesting - I have just booked a 4WD camper for travel out of Darwin for 10 days! All of the above has benefiited me as well!
Enjoy your trip & safe travels :)

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Follow Up By: W.A. Steve- Sunday, Feb 21, 2010 at 21:05

Sunday, Feb 21, 2010 at 21:05
Thanks to everyone who replied to my post. We have now returned after our week in Darwin which was very enjoyable.

We managed to go to some of the places we intended, Kakadu which included a one hour plane flight to see some magnificent waterfalls and scenery, we also managed the boat cruise at Yellow Waters in which we were lucky enough to see some Crocodiles and fantastic bird life.

Katherine Gorge was also great but probably my favourite was Elsey Station made famous in the story We of the Never Never, i found an over whelming sense of peace at the old homestead site and the cemetery was a story in itself.

One week was far to short but has strengthened my resolve to return for a much longer visit.

Once again thank you to all for your input, my wife and i had a truly enjoyable time.

Steve
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